Down vs feather – what are the differences between these two and which is the best filling material for pillows, duvets, and jackets? The short answer is that down keeps better warmth and won’t poke you when used in the pillows like feather can. However, it’s usually more expensive. Read on to find out how these two compare in insulation, appearance, odor, availability, allergies, lifespan, price, softness and feel.
In a hurry? Egyptian Bedding has the top-rated down comforter in 2019 and Puredown has the top goose down feather pillow. See more options in our list of best down feather pillows. If you’re looking for a jacket, Orolay is the way to go.
Down vs Feather: Comparison Table
What Is Down?
Down is the soft fiber material that is found under bird’s feathers around the chest, and is the closest thing to the bird’s skin. It has a fluffy look and is made of plumules and soft fibers all around.
Down is primarily for insulation and it also benefits humans as we use down due to its fluffiness and insulating properties. Most commonly used down are a duck and goose down.
- Provides good insulation
- It is lightweight
- Soft and fluffy feel
- Good breathability
- Can cause allergies
What Is White Down?
Down can vary in color depending on the bird’s age or season it was harvested. The colors range from white to dark grey. White down is the color of down that is harvested during winter and the color doesn’t affect its insulating properties.
White down is more expensive nonetheless than grey down, because of aesthetics as grey down when used as filling material can be seen through the fabric and gives a dirty look. When it comes to saving cost, however, grey down is used.
What Is Feather?Feathers are from the wings and tail of birds. They are sometimes confused with down but there is a difference between the two. Feathers have a flatter structure when compared with down, and there is a quill running through the middle. It’s heavier than down and can be used as the filling for pillows, duvets, and jackets, amongst other things. Down and feather are usually used together at fixed percentages as filling for different products so that you can get the best of both worlds.
- Offers good support when used in pillows
- Retains shape for long time
- The quill could poke you through the covering material
Down vs Feather: Differences
Insulation – Maintaining Warmth
The best option between the two is to go with a product that makes use of down filling. Down functions to keep birds warm as it has the ability to trap heat while allowing air to pass through.
It is a very good insulating material and has this same application when it is used with bedding and clothing materials.
The appearance of down and feather is quite distinct. Down is fluffy and is made of a central point from which soft fibers spread out.
They are found under the feathers. Feathers, on the other hand, are flatter than down and are heavier. They have a central quill and fibers radiating outwards from it.
Due to their source, both feather and down are bound to have some form of odor, especially when wet.
This is the reason why some companies properly treat them to get rid of the smell before use as filling materials for their products. There is no difference between the two in this regard.
Down is a good ground for dust mites and other allergens to accumulate and multiply.
This makes it not so appropriate for those with allergies as their exposure to the accumulated allergens will cause sneezing and other reactions.
Feathers are the same in this aspect and both filling materials are not right for allergy sufferers.
Softness and Feel
Down is very soft and fluffy, making it a great choice as a filling material for your bedding and clothes.
It brings you so much comfort as you make use of it. Feathers also have the same fluffy and soft feel when touched.
The difference between the two is that, while they both feel soft and fluffy, feathers are firmer and that is why they are excellent as protection for birds.
Both down and feathers are harvested from the same source, but birds produce more feather than down.
Comparing the outstanding features of both down and feathers, down has a more plush feel and lasts longer and so its value is higher.
Down costs usually double and in some cases up to three times the price of feathers. For a shopper with a tight budget, the best option for you would be products made of feather filling.
Products made with feather tend to last for long, but not as compared to those made with down. Feathers lose shape and become flat easily with continuous use, and need to be replaced.
But with down, no matter the pressure or frequency of use, the shape is retained as the down clusters always spring back to their original shape.
Down vs Feather Pillow
Down is used as the filling material for pillows due to its many attractive properties which promise to offer great comfort and support to the user.
The structure of down which is cluster-like offers insulation, keeping you warm but not clammy. The cluster which exhibits a spring back action provides the pillows with great loft and volume. So no matter how much you use it, it will return to its original shape and stay fluffy.
Made so that you can get the best comfort, down pillows give you great comfort, plush and good loft also. You can make use of your own pillow for a long time as it is a good investment. Although the cost of purchase is higher, it will pay off as you will not need to replace it anytime soon.
Feather pillows tend to give you greater support due to their heavy structure. Feather pillows usually contain some amount of down too so that the pillows can get a good level of the loft.
Feather pillows also allow you to sleep cool, preventing you from having sweat all over your face due to bad air circulation.
They are cheaper especially when compared with down pillows, and the only type of feather pillows that cost a bit more than regular feather pillows are those that contain down too.
Even though they tend to give great support, they flatten out easily, making you have the need for a replacement frequently. The presence of quills in the pillows means that you are at risk of being poked by it as you lay on your pillow. This can be very uncomfortable too.
Down or Feather Duvet
Since feathers are generally heavier than down, they tend to provide you with more support and are a perfect choice if you prefer a heavy duvet.
Due to the insulating properties of feathers, the duvet will keep you warm, but you won’t be clammy and so your comfort is assured. All these are features that will ensure you get a good quality sleep.
Although they give you great support, the quills are hard and large and can poke you through the cover. This takes away the comfort that you are supposed to get.
If you want to feel warmth, then down is the best option for you as it is the best insulating material. It keeps you warmer than feather duvet would and also ensures you are not clammy from bad air circulation.
No one loves the idea of spending money frequently to replace items around the house. The down duvet is highly durable and can last you for as long as 40 years with good care.
As you must have deciphered already, down duvet costs more than feather duvet. So if you are on a budget, or looking for something cheaper, this isn’t what you are looking for.
More people tend to have allergies from down than from the use of feather products so you have to be sure of how you react to allergens before you make any purchase.
Down vs Feather Jacket
Down jackets offer you a greater deal of insulation than feather jackets. Feather jackets will require more filling to be able to compare in terms of warmth with down jackets.
The price to pay for this is that the jackets become heavy and can cause fatigue in the long run. So for a more comfortable and warm experience, down jackets are the best option.
Down jackets cost more than leather jackets. The price isn’t friendly to everybody, and so depending on your budget, you should make a choice that doesn’t create a hole in your pocket.
Is Down The Same As Feathers?
No. down is different from feathers in their structures and also functions.
Is Down Warmer Than Feather?
Yes. The primary function of down even on the birds is for insulation. Down is the best insulation material yet.
Where Do Down Feathers Come From?
Down feathers come from the body of birds as they are found all over and are meant for insulation. Most down pillows, duvets, and jackets are made of duck and goose down.
What Does Down Feather Mean?
Down feathers are small soft feathers with a fluffy appearance.
Made of plumules and soft fibers all around, they are the closest to a bird’s skin and are found under bird’s feathers and around the chest. Down feathers function primarily to provide insulation.
What Is Down Cluster?
Down cluster is a round and spherical, soft and fluffy 3D structure with soft fibers radiating outwards in all directions
What Is Down And Feather Fill?
Down fill power is the measure of the loft of down. This determines the quality of the down and indicates how many cubic inches of loft one ounce of that down will produce. Feather doesn’t have any fill power.
Is Down Warmer than Wool?
Yes, down is warmer than wool. This is because of its special ability to trap heat while allowing air to pass through and it does this better than other filling materials.
How Long Does A Feather Duvet Last?
Depending on the quality and care of the duvet, feather duvet can last for up to 15 years.
Can You Wash A Feather Duvet?
Yes, you can. But ensure that the label says it is machine washable, and also that your duvet is in good condition before washing.
Down vs Feather: And the winner is…
Both down and feather are a great filling for your pillows, duvets, and jackets. They offer you good insulation, support, and comfort.
Your choice of one over another should be according to your preference and budget. Egyptian Bedding’s comforter is highly rated down comforter and Puredown has the top goose down feather pillow in 2019. However, if you’re looking for a warm jacket, Orolay is the way to go.